First look at Sir Richard Branson’s Son Bunyola Estate

Virgin Limited Edition, Sir Richard Branson’s privately owned collection of award-winning luxury hotels and retreats is excited to share the first stunning images of the newly opened villas Sa Punta De S’Aguila and Sa Terra Rotja, situated on the Son Bunyola Estate. 

At the heart of the Son Bunyola estate is a historic Finca building dating back to the 1800’s surrounded by vines, citrus fruit trees, almond and olive trees. The estate, with its own gated entrance, is over 700 acres and is located in between Esporles and Banyalbufar on the Northwest coast of Mallorca. The area is dominated by the Tramuntana mountain range with its breath-taking scenery, and is home to some of the most historical and picturesque towns on the island.

What are the villa options?

Sa Punta de S’Aguila translates as ‘Eagle’s Point’. This five bedroom villa is built in traditional Mallorcan style, with exposed beam ceilings and terracotta tiled floors. Offering total privacy, the villa has been sympathetically built into the landscape and boasts panoramic sea and mountain views. Sa Punta de S’Aguila has its own heated swimming pool, kitchen, living room and dining area. This villa comfortably sleeps 10 adults in 5 en-suite bedrooms. Rates start from EUR 21, 825 (at today’s exchange rate AUD 31,900) for a 7 night stay or AUD 3190 per person based on 10 adults staying.

Sa Terra Rotja translates as ‘red earth’ from the local Mallorquí language, and this private four-bedroom villa is situated near the edge of the estate and a short walk from a pebble beach. Sa Terra Rotja also has its own heated swimming pool and plenty of space on the terrace for sunbathing, outdoor dining and watching the sun set over this exclusive and beautiful corner of the island. This villa comfortably sleeps 8 adults in 4 en-suite bedrooms. Rates start from EUR 17,460 (at today’s exchange rate AUD 25,500) for a 7 night stay or AUD 3200 per person based on 8 adults staying.

What’s included?

• Accommodation for the 7 nights 

• All drinks including wine, beer, spirits, soft drinks and Spanish sparkling wine

• Breakfast, lunch and dinner including a local restaurant reservation one night

• A concierge service to take care of activities and restaurant bookings

• Wireless internet

• Daily housekeeping and pool servicing

Things to do….and also included!

Take a dip in your private heated pool just steps away from your villa or play a spot of tennis on the nearby court (racquets and balls provided) – this is shared by Sa Terra Rotja and Sa Punta de S’Aguila. The estate is 3km×5km in size so perfect for a stroll to stretch your legs, or capture stunning ocean views with a coastal walk which starts from a pebble beach.


ETIHAD AIRWAYS AND AIRBERLIN AT MERCEDES BENZ FASHION WEEK BERLIN

Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Berlin took place for the first time with Etihad Airways and airberlin as new official partners of the event. The fashion industry gathered in the German capital to showcase their newest collections.

Etihad Airways recently announced a comprehensive new global agreement with WME | IMG to become a strategic partner. Together with Etihad Airways Partners airlines, Etihad Airways now annually supports 17 fashion week events around the world.

MADE, an international platform to support emerging designers and creatives, continued its expansion outside the US with the launch of MADE Berlin. MADE was established in New York to promote creative visionaries in fashion, music, art and culture. The latest edition of MADE in the German capital is in celebration of a cultural exchange programme between MADE New York and MADE Berlin. airberlin, partner of Etihad Airways, participates in MADE Berlin, via the global partnership between Etihad Airways and WME | IMG, announced earlier this year.

“Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Berlin and MADE form a perfect bridge between fashion, lifestyle and travel. The who’s who of the fashion scene visited Berlin this week. Our excellent schedule – with daily non-stop flights between Berlin and New York, make us the perfect partner for creative intercultural exchange”, said Andrew Ward, Senior Vice President Marketing at airberlin.

Guests visited the Etihad Airways and airberlin joint stand at Fashion Week Berlin and were hosted by airline crew and representatives.


Halcyon House in Cabarita: does it live up to the hotel hype?

IF THERE is one hotel that has been lapping up all kinds of praise both here and over *there*, well, it’s certainly this little Aussie one.

Halcyon House used to be a one of those old-school motels, nestled on the beach at Cabarita on the north coast of New South Wales — kind of half way between the Gold Coast and Byron Bay.

Cabarita may not role off the tongue like the Goldie or Byron but Australia’s newest and incredibly sleek boutique hotel, Halcyon House, is impressing all the right people.

The hotel was opened by Elisha Bickle and her sister Siobhan, the family buying Cabarita’s ‘Hideaway’ motel and morphed it into Halcyon House.

There is no question that Halcyon House is one of Australia’s most special beachside hotels. So good, it was recently awarded the 2016 Condé Nast Traveller ‘Hot List’ Award.

Only a select 60 properties made the Condé Nast Traveller Hot List Awards and represent not only the vanguard of the hotel world, but where travellers are headed to next.

The outcome of the list was that hotels have rediscovered the true meaning of the term design hotel; that ‘eco-friendly’ has come to signify something truly inspired; and emerging destinations have been put on the holiday map.

This former surf motel turned luxury hotel was one of Australia’s best kept secrets but now, the secret is out. Of their recent award, the Brisbane-based sisters always believed the hotel would hit the right note.

“Our vision was to create something that was completely different to what was currently being offered in Australia, a boutique hotel with a low key Australian feel,” says Elisha.

“A hotel which pairs the beauty of location, with relaxed understated elegance and intuitive service. Such an accolade in our first year of opening doors is testament to the team holding true and achieving this vision.” Siobhan adds.

The hotel may have only been open just over a year but its interiors — designed by Anna Spiro and Sydney-based architect Virginia Kerridge — are eclectic and feature groupings of vintage cameos, seascapes, mirrors and collected beachside paraphernalia.

So popular and ‘instagrammable’ has Halcyon House become, it has reached Pinterest and Insta fame as the ‘Halcyon Hang’.

One of the highlights of Halcyon turned out to be Mauro De Riso, the hotel’s general manager whose life has been spent in the world of hospitality including a long stint on Capri.

“I have spent several years working overseas in high-end properties and it is a privilege to now manage Halcyon House,” said Mauro, who even picked us up from Coolangatta airport in a super-duper Audi, before driving us for 20 minutes to Cabarita.

“The beachfront location, property size, access to incredible fresh produce and passionate staff all contribute to our ability to offer extraordinary and unique experiences for our discerning guests.”

Halcyon House has 21 individual suites, vintage furnishings and a poolside restaurant Paper Daisy under the helm of chef Ben Devlin, who was awarded the Brisbane Good Food Guide Young chef of the year in 2014.

When we visited, Ben had just started a new winter menu and it was seriously sensational (baby lobster anyone?) with local fish, meat, fruit and veggies his best working tools.

Previously, Ben worked at world renowned chef-owner René Redzepi’s Noma in Copenhagen.

The 90-seat dining experience at the restaurant is a celebration of Halcyon House’s unique part of the world and the relaxed setting worked just as well on the cold, windy, rainy night we had as it did the next day, when it was crystal blue and simply beautiful.

When it comes to room rates, they’re not cheap, starting from $550 for a King suite to $1400 for a two-bedroom suite. There is no question, Halcyon has had fantastic reviews — and it is a real occasion location — including a spectacular one from the renowned Mr and Mrs Smith travel site.

THINGS I LOVE:

• The way Halcyon House still has that 1960s “motel” kind of feel, but boy, the existing building has been beautifully and faithfully restored so it doesn’t look “untouchable”

• In a cool move for a beachside hotel, the walls of each room are entirely upholstered — each in a unique fabric.

• No two rooms are the same; textiles, antiques, art and furnishings have been sourced from all over the globe — from estate sales as near as Brisbane and as far afield as the legendary Brimfield antiques fair in Massachusetts

• The walk along the beach — which is right outside the hotel — takes you right up to the Cabarita headlands where you get a 360 degree view of the surrounding area and some brilliant swell and the odd whale or three. Sensational!

• When arrive at Halcyon House, you are greeted not with a cold towel or glass of champagne … but with some freshly made lemonade. (The Presecco comes after you’ve settled into your room.)

• Lastly and while it wasn’t poolside-sitting weather when we were there, the blue and white deck chairs and drinks cart make the whole vibe very relaxed and not at all “up itself” — a quality that fits in perfectly with a hotel that deserves all the accolades it has received.

I’d suggest to save up and give Halcyon a twirl. You’ll really, really like it.

Take a look at their website and you’ll certainly get the picture of what is a simply sensational and relaxed holiday playground.

Melissa Hoyer stayed as a guest of Halcyon House

This article was originally posted on news.com.au


OFFICIAL START OF THE GREATEST MOTORING ADVENTURE PEKING TO PARIS

Swiss watch manufacturer Frederique Constant is the official timekeeper of the 2016 Peking to Paris Motor Challenge, one of the most extraordinary journeys that you can do in a motorcar universe.

With its first edition in 1907, The Peking to Paris Motor Challenge is one of the oldest automotive challenges still running today. Bringing vintage sports cars together side-by-side, their route includes driving in some of the world’s toughest lands and requires the participants to maintain a demanding rally-time schedule.

On Sunday, organisers, partners, competitors and cars were all excited and reunited for the departure of this great adventure beside the breathtaking, Great Wall of China. An architectural marvel, where the first rally started 109 years ago.

Over 100 vintage sports cars and their crew lined up under the giant arch in front of the Great Wall: Bentley, BMW, Chevrolet, Fiat, Mercedes, Peugeot and Porsche; all the biggest names were represented by their most fabled models. All were ready and roaring with impatience to set off on the 13’000km road.

The 2016 route drives into the most adventurous region of Mongolia, the stunningly beautiful northern sector. It will cross Russia and the Republic of Belarus through long gravel farmland sections for Time Trials; and an exciting new route across Europe with closed-road mountain climbs in the Alps. The route was revised to allow the public from different countries to witness this great spectacle.

Sebastien Cretegny, Marketing and Sales Director of Frederique Constant Asia, took this opportunity to express his pride and happiness of being the official timekeeper of this legendary race. For Frederique Constant, sponsoring once again the Peking to Paris Motor Challenge was a logical way to encourage people around the world to follow their passion, just like the people participating to this great rally.


QANTAS GROUP COMPLETES $500M SHARE BUY-BACK

The Qantas Group has announced that it has completed the $500 million on market share buy-back announced at its half year results in February 2016.

Since 9 March 2016, Qantas has purchased 143,599,336 shares for a weighted average price of $3.4819.

Combined with the $505 million capital return and associated share consolidation completed on 6 November 2015, the number of ordinary shares on issue for Qantas Airways Limited has decreased by 12.6% since 30 June 2015. Upon cancellation of all shares purchased under the buy-back there will be 1,918,801,014 ordinary shares on issue.

In line with its financial framework, the Qantas Group has returned over $1 billion in surplus capital to shareholders in the last 12 months. A decision on future capital management initiatives will be made by the Board and announced with the Group’s full year results on 24 August 2016.